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  • Writer's pictureladiesvoices

*Kiss Me Kate,* 3/26/19

I saw *Kiss Me, Kate* on Broadway on 3/26/19. The biggest excitement of the show happened before the curtain went up: I took the train to 42nd Street and had dinner at Pax, since it's right next door to the American Airlines Theater. I had a leisurely dinner and left at around 7:30, I thought that would be a good time to saunter over and get to my seat. I walked up to the theater, pulled the handle on the door, and it was locked. What the hell. I looked at my ticket, and the show was at Studio 54, NOT at the American Airlines Theater! My head was totally up my ass!

I rushed down the street at 7:31, got on the E headed uptown, got off at 50th Street, rushed up to 54th Street, used the bathroom and was at my seat at 7:46. Pretty impressive, yes? But like I said, it was the biggest excitement of the evening. The show itself was a disappointment.

I'd never seen the show onstage before, and hadn't seen the movie in many years, so I was excited. The opening number, "Another Opening, Another Show," went on for what felt like fifteen minutes, which is a LONG time for an opening number. Open the damn show already!

The biggest problem was the casting of the two leads. Kelli O'Hara was Lilli/Katherine, and she sang like a dream and worked real hard, but wasn't at all right for the part. You need more moxie, more verve. Her leading man, Will Chase, was an even bigger misfire - - you need maybe not a booming baritone, but a sonorous baritone. This guy was a tenor and the bottom of the voice was inaudible. Again, he was working real hard, but we'd all be better served with the right person in the part.

The general whiff of the show was off. Everyone was trying too hard. I was reminded of my description of *Hail, Caesar!* the Coen Brothers failure from 2015. I'll quote from my Top Five from that year: "It was like a gorgeous 1950s aeroplane, sleek and shiny - - the crew is working hard to make sure the passengers have a good time. The plane sometimes speeds down the runway, but it never takes off."

I can say a few GOOD things: the high point of the show was "Too Darn Hot." The tap dancing was sensational, kudos to choreographer Warren Carlisle. The dancing was exciting on a personal level and he also had a good eye for large patterns and the ebb and flow of a number. This was the one moment when the plane DID take off. And in spite of all my misgivings, the final tableau brought a tear to my eye. I guess Cole Porter can't be too badly harmed.

How about some k. d. lang? Here she is singing the best song in the show, "So In Love:"

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